Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Big 10 Power Rankings Teams 1-6 : College Basketball Preview

Published on August 12, 2011 by Scott Shirley   ·   1 Comment

Before you know it college basketball will be right around the corner. I thought it would be a good idea to start my college basketball preview. In the following weeks and months I will be breaking down the teams in each conference as well as the top players, freshman, coaches and much more.

Today I look at the Big 10; here are my power rankings for teams 1-6 in the Big 10 for the 2011-12-college basketball season.  A few day ago I looked at teams 7-12.

1. Ohio State - Starters Returning (2) Sullinger Buford

The Buckeyes were probably a top 3 team, but when Jarred Sullinger decided to come back to school they vaulted to the top. Sullinger (17.2 ppg) would have been a top 5 pick in the draft; he is a beast down low, and unstoppable once he gets the ball in the post with his strength. Joining Sullinger upfront will be DeShaun Thomas (7.5 ppg): despite not getting a lot of playing time last year he produced, and he will have a breakout season. The Buckeyes once again brought in a top recruiting class. From that recruiting class Amir Williams and Trey McDonald will help out up front as well as returning players Evan Ravenel and J.D. Weatherspoon (1.8 ppg). In the backcourt Aaron Craft (6.9 ppg) returns at the point; he didn’t start last year, but he got plenty of playing time, he’s one of those pesky point guards you want on your team. William Buford (14.4 ppg) is Craft’s running mate in the backcourt; he’s a deadly shooter with a mid range game. Jordan Sibert (2.1 ppg) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (1.2 ppg) will help out in the backcourt; they can do more in an expanding role. Freshman Shannon Scott will have no trouble being the backup point guard. Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross both freshmen will help out at small forward.

2. Wisconsin - Starters Returning (2) Taylor, Gasser

No matter who goes and leaves Bo Ryan will always have his Wisconsin team at the top of the Big Ten. They lose their top 2 big guys, but they will always find guys to fit their system. The Badgers return one of the best point guards in the Nation in Jordan Taylor (18.1 ppg). As a point guard Taylor has a ridiculous assist to turnover ratio; he can also shoot. Josh Gasser (5.9 ppg) also returns at shooting guard; look for him to be better as a sophomore. Look for Rob Wilson (1.6) and two freshmen George Marshall and Traevon Jackson to help out in the backcourt; Marshall is the best of the bunch. Ryan Evans (2.8 ppg) has the talent at the small forward position he needs to put it all together. The best returning player in the frontcourt is Mike Bruesewitz (4.6 ppg) so look for him to do more in an expanding role. Jared Berggren (2.4 ppg) will likely get the nod at center. Redshirt freshman Evan Anderson will be in the mix also. Also in the mix in the frontcourt are two typical Wisconsin big guys freshman Jarrod Urthoff and Frank Kaminsky.

3. Michigan – Starters Returning (4) Hardaway, Novak, Morgan, Douglass

Michigan could have been at the top of this list but when point guard Darius Morris decided to leave for the NBA that hurt, but still the Wolverines bring everyone else back. Tim Hardaway Jr. (13. 9 ppg) is their best player; he does a little bit of everything for them. Joining him in the backcourt are veterans Stu Douglass (7.1 ppg) and Zack Novak (8.9 ppg). Both can shoot it, and they just bring leadership and tough play. The wildcard in the backcourt could be freshman point guard Trey Burke. If he picks up the system he could start, because none of the above players are really point guards. Carlton Brundidge, another freshman will help out at shooting guard, as well as Matt Vogrich (3.2 ppg). Leading the way in the frontcourt is Jordan Morgan (9.2 ppg) who is a space eater down low he needs to improve his conditioning. Evan Smotrycz (6.3 ppg) is a deadly shooter for a big guy. The depth in the frontcourt may be concerning. Players trying to provide depth will be Jon Horford (2 ppg), Blake McLimans (1.2 ppg) and freshman Max Bielfeldt.

4. Purdue - Starters Returning (3) Byrd, Jackson, Smith

The bad news for Purdue is they lose two starters who combined to score 38 points per game; the good news is they return Robbie Hummel from injury and 3 starters. Hummel (15.7 ppg 09-10), missed last season with an ACL injury. When healthy he is a top power forward in the country; he is a hard working player that can shoot. Besides Hummel they are really lacking experience in the frontcourt. Travis Carroll (1.3 ppg) will likely get the first chance at center; the depth guys here will be Sandi Marcius (1 ppg) and freshman Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson to get a shot. Purdue is solid at small forward with D.J. Byrd (5.2 ppg) and Kelsey Barlow (5.1 ppg). Point Guard Lewis Jackson (8 ppg) really came on last season, he is very quick. Joining him in the backcourt is sharp shooter Ryne Smith (6.2 ppg). Providing the depth in the backcourt is Terone Johnson (4.9 ppg), John Hart (3.8 ppg) , and redshirt freshman Anthony Johnson.

5. Michigan State – Starters Returning (3) Roe, Green, Appling

Michigan State had a very disappointing year, but hey Tom Izzo always does well in the underdog role, this team has the talent to do so. Draymond Green (12. 6 ppg) is the Spartans best player; he is a very versatile player. He can do it all; he even averaged 4 assists a game. Also up front is Delvon Roe (6.1 ppg); if he was ever healthy he could put up better numbers. Providing the depth are Derrick Nix (2.7 ppg) and Adreian Payne (2.5 ppg); these two need to play to their talent level. Alex Gauna, a redshirt freshman might also get some playing time. Look for talented freshman Branden Dawson to start at small forward. Leading the way in the backcourt will be the next great Spartans point guard Keith Appling (6.4 ppg). With more playing time he will put up better offensive numbers. Joining him in the backcourt will be Valparaiso transfer Brandon Wood (16.7 ppg). This transfer was huge for the Spartans because they are lacking experience here. Freshman Brandan Kearney, Dwaun Anderson, and Travis Trice will provide depth in the backcourt, Kearney is the best of the bunch. Redshirt freshman-shooting guard Russell Byrd will also help.

6. Illinois – Starters Returning (1) Richardson

The fighting Illini lose their top 3 scorers from a year ago, but there is still a lot of talent on the roster now so they just have to prove it. Illinois two best returning players are juniors Brandon Paul (9 ppg) and D.J. Richardson (8.4 ppg). Both can score more with the increased roles. Paul is the better all around player while Richardson can shoot it. Joining them in the backcourt will be Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco, who is very good with the basketball. Crandall Head (1.3 ppg) and Joseph Bertrand (1.1 ppg ) will provide depth here. True freshman point guard Tracy Abrams ,who is very highly rated, should get lots of minutes. The question mark will be the frontcourt for Illinois. Meyers Leonard (2.1 ppg) is the best player here, his numbers will increase with more playing time. Tyler Griffey (1.6 ppg) will get a shot at power forward. If these players can’t produce there are three freshmen that might be able to in Nnanna Egwu, Mike Shaw, and Ibrahima Djimde. Shaw and Egwu are both highly rated. Look for freshman Mycheal Henry and Devin Langford to get a lot of playing time at small forward.


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